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Learning to remember and then say five things


Why is this important?
Verbal understanding can be likened to a ‘list’ of things that need to be remembered in order to carry out a task. If, for example, a four- or five-word instruction is given (e.g. ‘Wash doll’s face and hands’), the child has to remember ‘wash’, ‘doll’, ‘face’ and ‘hands’. Auditory memory is also a factor in being able to process longer instructions.

What to do

  • Gather together a selection of pictures showing familiar actions. These could be cards or cut out from magazines.
  • Place a few of the cards (e.g. six) facedown on the table.
  • Choose a card but don’t show it to the child.
  • Look at the card and make a sentence about the picture (e.g. card shows ‘cat chasing mouse’ – you say ‘cats like to chase mice’).
  • Ask the child ‘Can you remember what I said?’
  • If the child responds correctly, show the card and reinforce by repeating the child’s efforts straightaway.
  • If it is difficult or only one or two words are recalled (e.g. ‘cats chase mice’), repeat the sentence emphasising the missed words (e.g. ‘cats like to chase mice’).
  • Take it in turns to copy each other’s sentence.